We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is difficult to process how much things have changed in a mere 100 years.
If you look at the piers you notice few are occupied and what river traffic you see are fairly small ferry type boats and a few larger cargo ships or liners.
Freight, and even ferry, traffic was falling dramatically by 1931 due to the building of a number of heavy and light rail bridges and tunnels built in the early decades of the 20th century connecting NJ and the boroughs to Manhattan. Even the Holland Tunnel was bringing truck and auto traffic into Manhattan before 1931.
Ferry was king up to then. River traffic was so thick around Manhattan that people could nearly walk across the Hudson and East rivers.
Actually, several of these buildings are still there. The most interesting is the low, inverted U-shaped structure at the far left of the photo, the Cass Gilbert building that was then the US Customs House at Bowling Green and is now the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian and one of the few things in New York City that is free. And as for the piers, on the west side many of them were filled in and made into Battery Park City, where I live.